Posted by Jon in HB | 3:48 PM | 12 comments »

Working in the food service industry there are somethings that I think it is high time the general public knew. The following is not meant to help you have a more enjoyable dining experience. It is meant for me to have a more enjoyable time at work.

When you give the hostess your name for the wait list, don’t tell her how to spell it. This is not a legally binding contract. Just let her write it phonetically so that she will call your name the way she heard it pronounced. Who cares if its Christine or Kristine; Brandi with an ‘i’, or Shlonavichikvson? Let the poor girl write it down so she will remember it. It’s no slam on your name, she’s just busy, leave her alone.

Quoting you a time that it takes to get a table is not an exact science. They do there best. Just as ‘a watched pot never boils’, ‘a nasty stared at hostess does not seat you any quicker’. And what would you have her do? Would you like her to go ask that table that has already eaten and paid, and now they are sitting around talking forever, to get up and leave so you can sit down? Fine, but expect her to do the same thing to you!

If your reading your menu your server thinks you are not ready to order. If you want someone to come by and take your order, put your menu down. That is the international, “I’m ready to order now” sign.

The server does not act as the company’s purchasing agent. They have no control over whether or Pepsi or Coke products are sold. Don’t give them a hard time. And don’t make a face or a comment if they don’t have the one you drink. Order water and shut up.

When the server tells you what types of salad dressings they have, don’t ask for something they didn’t mention. If they had French dressing they would have told you so. What, do you think this is In-N-Out Burger and they have some ‘secret menu’ that only the in crowd knows about? “Shhh, don’t ask for French dressing too loudly, I just told that couple behind you that we were out, I’ll bring yours out in just a minute. Keep it to yourself, ok buddy?”

If you order like Meg Ryan in When Harry met Sally, with so many modifications that in the end, it no way resembles the original entrĂ©e, or anything else on the menu; expect it to come out wrong. Every restaurant has a basic recipe for every dish they. They do this so that it can be made quickly and correctly every time. What would happen to the production of the Model T if every tenth car needed to have no rear bumper, the steering wheel on the right side instead of the left, pistons on side (I’ll install those myself), red paint instead of black. ORDER IT HOW IT COMES! IF YOU DON’T LIKE HOW IT COMES ORDER SOMETHING ELSE OR PICK IT APART AT THE TABLE. Don’t we always tell the child that doesn’t like pepperoni on he’s slice of pizza to just pick it off? Why are we any more special?

So there’s a small little gnat in your salad. Big deal. Most lettuce is grown in the ground where all sorts of bugs and worms live. It’s usually fed manure as well, and guess where that comes from. Restaurants buy produce from reputable vendors and clean food before they serve it. It is possible that small little gnat could remain in the greens. DON’T FREAK OUT ABOUT IT! It is not the most disgusting you’ve put in your mouth before, I’ll hazard to guess. Think about all the stuff your kid dropped on the floor and then you brushed it off and made them eat.

Don’t send a drink back because you think it’s too weak. It was made with normal amounts of liquor for a decent society. It’s not drunk Uncle Larry making margaritas at the backyard BBQ. By the way, they usually don’t make a new stronger drink for you. They usually put a drop or two of booze in the straw so when you take the first sip you think, “WOW” while they laugh at you behind the bar.

Crying child in your party? Same rules apply as in a movie theatre. Take the rug rat outside until they shut up. And if you bring Cheerios to keep them busy, that’s great. Just try to pick up most of the mess.

Don’t ask to split the bill. Yes it is easy to do in this techno age of computers; but with large groups it becomes a problem when you start squabbling over whose soda got put on whose bill, and “I didn’t get the cup of soup she did”. Just pick up the tab for your friends and they’ll get you back next time.

If your meal gets discounted because of a coupon or some other discount tip off the original amount. Don’t be a cheap skate. And don’t pull out your Little Tipper Tipping Guide. Move the decimal point to figure out 10% and double it to get 20% and then split the difference (although 17-20% is much more the going rate these days).

And lastly, “Have a nice evening. We’ll see you next time!”


  1. VikingMom // April 13, 2008 at 7:18 PM  

    Jon. Are you okay? I have a counselor friend who can help you through these anger issues. (Okay, fine, I'm just joking. :) No, really...I do!

    I do have to admit that I'm guilty of the Cheerios thing. I always tried to clean up as much as possible and usually left a pretty big tip as a way of amends.

    I have to admit, the straw thing is pretty funny. Do you use this technique for parties at your house?

  2. VikingMom // April 13, 2008 at 7:19 PM  

    Looking at my post, apparently I have alot of things to admit! Ugh...I hate not being able to edit my posts.

  3. Heidi // April 13, 2008 at 8:24 PM  

    Umm.... yeah okay, note to self. Don't ever eat at Jon's restaurant. And if you do eat there - just let the server know that you'll have whatever they think is best.

    Oh - I'm also thinking that you'd find it mildly troublesome if one complained about one's name not being remembered.... I'm going to go and make more notes to myself...

  4. Jon in HB // April 13, 2008 at 8:36 PM  

    Laurel, you figured out the Cheerio loop hole. It's fine to leave them if you tip accordingly. If you don't feel like tipping extra, at least make some effort, even if it's just kicking them into one big pile with your feet.

    And no, I do not use the straw techniques at my house. I do not have to account for liquor costs so I pour very generously. It's what's know in the industry as the 'helium elbow'.

  5. Kristi // April 13, 2008 at 8:42 PM  

    holy smokes. did you have a rough week?

    i might have to write a blog about how to be a good "church-goer"

    examples being....

    1. don't write mean comment cards. it just makes us mad and want to keep doing exactly what you are asking us not to.

    2. don't act like you love jesus and then treat other people who love jesus like crap.

    3. don't pretend to care about God's work and not tithe.

    4. don't read your programs during worship. what if i came to your job and while you were asking me to do something, read a magazine, held at an angle where i didn't have to see you.

    5. don't ask us to turn it down if you refuse to get out of the front row.

    oh wait... i did write a blog. my bad.

    guess i must have been having a bad week too. :o)

  6. Jon in HB // April 13, 2008 at 8:43 PM  

    Heidi, I would be very upset if someone on my staff forgot your name. But if the 19 year old ditz taking your name wants to spell it Hidee, let her! She'll then be able to call it out if that's how she thinks it's spelled.

  7. discomommy // April 13, 2008 at 9:43 PM  

    Food Service people are very bitter people!

  8. Jon in HB // April 13, 2008 at 10:20 PM  

    Watch it hun! You & I both married 'Food Service people'

  9. Billy and Laurel // April 14, 2008 at 4:04 PM  

    Wow! Hear, hear Kristi. I sense a new era of blogging. Everyone seems to be telling it how it is.

  10. Don // April 14, 2008 at 10:12 PM  

    What have I stumbled upon?

    Sounds like someone got up on the wrong side of the bed of lettuce this morning! (er, yesterday morning)

    What if Harrison Ford complained about his drink being too weak? Huh? Huh? Would you make it stronger for him????

    Seriously, Jon...this was a helpful post. We need to learn our customer etiquette from the dining pros.

    I'm smelling a New York Times Best Seller here.

  11. Jon in HB // April 14, 2008 at 10:18 PM  

    Don- What I think is funny is that all of my non-restaurant friends read this and thought, 'wow he must have had a rough week'. My coworkers that read it told me, "Right on brother, keep preachin' !"

  12. Jon in HB // April 14, 2008 at 10:20 PM  

    BTW-Don's Harrison Ford comment was because...that's who came in to the restaurant for lunch today with his mom.